What Is the Legal Status of CBD? | cannabisMD

What Is the Legal Status of CBD?

What is the legal status of CBD Oil?

Are you confused about the difference between legal CBD and illegal CBD? The legal status of CBD is a bit complicated. Read on to learn more. CBD has many benefits and uses for the ordinary adult with ordinary health issues and beyond. It’s derived from either marijuana or hemp and there are a variety of ways to consume it.

The problem is, there are a lot of different laws surrounding the purchase and use of CBD products in the United States. It’s still classified as a schedule I substance, along with marijuana, even with plenty of evidence toward its medicinal benefits. Even more confusing, it’s sold legally in all fifty states.

There are some stipulations surrounding legal CBD. First of all, it’s only guaranteed to be legal if it comes from hemp. And, some states only allow it to be sold and used for medicinal purposes. That’s why, in this article, we’re discussing what CBD laws you need to know about. Keep reading to learn more.

What is CBD? CBD or cannabidiol is a compound found in hemp and marijuana plants. It is the second most abundant cannabinoid in the marijuana Sativa plant after tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC. CBD does not have psychoactive effects meaning that you will not get high when using it.

It can be smoked or used topically and is often found in oils. Cannabidiol interacts with your own cannabinoid system to create responses from other systems in your body. These responses range from increasing appetite to treating auto-immune disorders.

What is CBD Used For?

Because CBD, legal or not, doesn’t carry the psychoactive effects of THC, it can be used medicinally for a wide range of diseases and disorders. Besides, it actually counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC. For this reason, even recreational marijuana users also use CBD to help alleviate paranoia and other side effects associated with THC.

While CBD hasn’t been legal for long in many places and is still illegal in some places, there are still more studies needed to understand its efficacy. But, there are already multiple studies that show positive results when CBD was used to as an aide or prevent symptoms for a diverse range of patients.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease that attacks the central nervous system disrupting the flow of information to the brain. This can cause a person to lose control of their body, including speech. It also causes severe nerve pain and spasticity which can cause a patient to lurch uncontrollably.

Scientists aren’t exactly sure why yet, but they’ve discovered that CBD can protect nerve cells from degenerative diseases. One study investigated a protein pathway that researchers think links the cannabinoid system with the central nervous system. They call the phenomena associated with CBD the “neuroprotective effect”.

Other studies have shown that the use of CBD is responsible for the reduction in neuropathic pain and spasticity. They also recognized a reduction in muscle spasms and sleep disturbances.


There have been many reports describing families that have turned to legal CBD for their children because of the effect it has on seizures. There are even strains of marijuana named after some of them, like Charlotte’s Web. This strain was named after a young girl that suffered from Daravet Syndrome when she showed significant results for her debilitating seizures while using the strain.

Parents aren’t the only ones testing the effects of CBD. Researchers and scientists are producing more studies that find CBD has the potential to reduce seizures in epilepsy.


Over 40-million Americans suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. There are hundreds of different pharmaceutical drugs available but many people still suffer. Some even become addicted. Remember that CBD counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC. In that same vein, it’s also proving to be a successful candidate for an anti-anxiety medication.

While more research is still needed, there are several studies indicating that using CBD products can significantly reduce feelings of anxiety. One such study includes generalized anxiety as well as the following:

  • social anxiety disorder
  • panic disorder
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder

Another study performed brain scans on the patients. The scans revealed blood flow changes in regions of the brain associated with feelings of anxiety.

Sleep Disorders

Insomnia affects approximately 70-million people in the United States each year. Insufficient sleep can lead to errors at home or at work and cause disruptions in your life. Research shows that CBD can help you sleep! In the same way that it can relax someone with anxiety, it can calm your body enough to allow you to get the rest you deserve.


CBD can reduce pain and inflammation associated with chronic health problems and injuries. It’s even better, according to some than prescription pain relievers.

A study published by Neurotherapeutics recognizes that CBD prevents the body from absorbing anandamide. It’s a compound in your body associated with regulating pain.

It has also been noted that CBD inhibits inflammation in the brain and nervous system. Not to mention helping with pain associated with inflammation such as muscle strains and injuries.


It’s important to remember that we all have our own endocannabinoid systems with which CBD works closely. That’s why it’s been found to be beneficial for treating cancer.

While studies have not shown that CBD can control or cure cancer, they do show that it can cause death in some cancer cells. Even more research is needed, but the National Cancer Institute notes that CBD may help cancer patients deal with symptoms and other cancer treatment side effects. CBD is most notably used for pain associated with cancer.

Marijuana vs. Hemp

There are two separate strains of the Cannabis Sativa plant. One is cannabis or marijuana. The other is hemp. Unlike cannabis, hemp is low in THC, the major psychoactive component in other cannabis products. It’s less than 0.03%, in fact. This means that you cannot get high from hemp.

And, CBD is derived from both plants. CBD derived from the marijuana plant is thought to be more powerful because it works synergistically with the cannabinoid receptors in your body. There are now marijuana strains bred specifically for CBD.

That’s part of what makes legal CBD so confusing. If it’s derived from hemp, then it’s okay because, well, it’s hemp and we know that hemp doesn’t have much THC. But if it’s CBD derived from marijuana, you could run into some issues.

Legal CBD States

There are basically four different categories that legal CBD falls into:

  • States with legal CBD
  • States with legal medical marijuana AND CBD
  • States with legal medical CBD ONLY
  • States where CBD is illegal

As you might gather, it seems a little confusing. Let’s break this down a little bit.

Recreational CBD

You can buy recreational legal CBD, meaning that you don’t need any special license or a medical card to purchase it in the following states:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Nevada
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.

You don’t need a prescription and you’ll likely find shops and retailers that sell legal CBD infused products scattered throughout towns all throughout these territories. It’s fine to use in the privacy of your home but you should verify public use laws where you may otherwise want to use your CBD products.

Medical CBD

Forty-six states, including those that allow recreational CBD, allow medical CBD to be sold by licensed dispensaries and used by patients with a range of conditions. This can be either hemp or medical marijuana with high levels of CBD.

To make it easier for you, here’s a list of states that do NOT allow CBD from marijuana, but if you have a prescription you can get it anyway:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Illegal CBD States

On the other end of the scale, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, and Sout Dakota won’t even allow CBD by prescription. It has been noted, however, that these states still have shops and retailers that sell legal CBD products. Remember, hemp is still legal.


When it comes down to understanding the legal CBD laws, you should always check with your local government first. Your local law enforcement agencies can guide you through the laws in your state, too. They can even help you find access to legal CBD so that you can remain compliant.

Remember that these laws are associated with CBD derived from marijuana. CBD derived from hemp is legal to purchase and use in all fifty states. And, even though CBD is still considered a drug by the DEA and FDA, they haven’t enforced any policies in recent years.

Legal CBD can be found across the country at medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries and various retailers, like health food stores. You can use this guide as a reference to help you in your search for locations that are allowed to sell select varieties, derived from marijuana.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
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